“Come, let us seek God with all our hearts.” How do we seek God? Do we seek God? What does “with all our hearts” mean? Do we seek God with all our heart? These are the questions that came to my mind when I read the quote.
First, how do we seek God? First impulse would be to say “pray” and “read Scripture,” and that would not be incorrect. Nevertheless, it would be incorrect to say that is all it consisted of.
Children are to love their parents, but it is not sufficient that children just know who their parents are and to make requests of them. Loving one’s parents entails a continuous seeking to obey. Just because a child obeyed his parents yesterday does not negate the fact that he must obey them today. Because the child obeyed his parents today in one matter does not preclude him from obeying them in all matters. A child can “say” he loves his parents although he disagrees with them and walks in disobedience of them. He can “say” he loves them, but does he love them? What parent is thee who will tell his child, “I know you love me; therefore, you do not have to obey me, for I know you are not perfect”? The parents “laws” are not to enslave the child, but are for his instruction and protection. They are instructions to aid him and to “free” him from doing wrong and from developing bad habits, to protect him from evil people and instruct on what type of people to avoid friendships with and the type to make friendships with.
When we seek God, yes, we must pray and read Scripture. We know that He is our Creator and that He is thrice holy. We should know that to love Him is to obey Him. We cannot have love without obedience; hence, to seek Him is to seek to know Him better and to be more obedient.
How often have we heard the adage, “God knows my heart,” believing that, at heart, we are good people. God does know our hearts; hence, He says, “The heart is deceitful above all things, and it is desperately sick: who can know it?” Because our hearts are deceitful and desperately sick, He tells us, “Circumcise yourselves to the LORD, and take away the foreskins of your heart.” In order to do this, He has given us the Sacrament of Baptism, which washes away original sin and cleanses us, placing us in Jesus. “O Jerusalem,
wash thine heart from wickedness, that thou mayest be saved. How long shall thine evil thoughts lodge within thee?” (Jer 4:14)
We cannot stop at Baptism. Only a dead child does not grow. If we do not grow after Baptism, we are dead. We must be fed and nourished. For this purpose Christ has given us the Church and the Sacraments. “But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked in their own counsels and in the stubbornness of their evil heart, and went backward and not forward” (Jer 7:24). Jesus Christ has given us the Mass. It is so vitally important that He presides over every Mass--from the cross. It was for this reason the priests, prior to Vatican II, faced away from congregation. Jesus gives us His Word; He gives us the Sacrament of Confirmation, giving us the Holy Spirit to strengthen us, guide us, and to empower us. “But they hearkened not, nor inclined their ear, but walked everyone in the stubbornness of their evil heart” (Jer 11:8). They inclined their ear to the “wisdom” of the world and their own “wisdom,” disagreeing with the Wisdom and Truth of Jesus Christ and His Body, the Catholic Church--as if Jesus the Christ, the Head, would deceive His Body. Nevertheless, God is not desirous that we should perish; therefore, He gives us the Sacrament of Penance/Reconciliation. He continues to feed us His Word and the Eucharist--His body, blood, soul, and divinity.
Seeing our own sinfulness, we confess our sins, and receive absolution and we pray, imploring Christ to pour His grace into our hearts. To whom else can we turn? He is Eternal Life. Reading holy Scripture, we meditate upon. As per our Blessed Mother, we take these things and meditate upon them.
It is much better to take small passages and ponder upon them than to read vast amounts and forget what we have read. If we hear Scripture read during the Mass and forget what we have heard by the time we are dismissed, of what benefit was it? Rather, it would behoove us to a small portion of the Scripture passages being read and take a small portion of the homily and meditate on them than to not recall any of what was read of Scripture and stated in the homily. We must treasure them, “chew the cud,” and then we will live by them. It is then that the love of God will begin to be expressed in our words and deeds. It is then that we begin to walk in obedience because of the love of God for us.
As long as we disagree with the Church and its teachings, we continue to walk according to our own “wisdom” and in disobedience to Jesus Christ and His teachings. It is then that we are going backwards, not forward. We must not, cannot, separate Jesus Christ from the Catholic Church. To attempt to do so is to attempt to decapitate the Head from the Body. Just look at the fact that the Catholic Church has the Eucharist: Jesus Christ--body, blood, soul, and divinity--crucified and risen. (I will leave it to others to discourse on the differences between Catholics and Orthodox.)
When we ponder Scripture and the teachings of the Church, treasure them, and walk in harmony, in accord with them, we then “seek with all our heart.” We cannot say we seek God when we seek to justify our walking in disagreement with the Church, walking in discord.
Wikipedia states regarding Gregory Peck, “Peck was a practicing Roman Catholic, although he disagreed with the Church’s positions on abortion and the ordination of women. If this is true, he was not a “practicing” Roman Catholic. A practicing Roman Catholic “practices” the doctrines of the Church, walking in agreement with them. If the Catholic Church is wrong with regard to "anything" it teaches concerning faith and morals, then "everything" it teaches must be questioned. The individual who disagrees with the Church is essentially saying he is god, that he himself has more wisdom than the Body of Christ, of which Jesus is the Head. Therefore, he is not seeking God. We seek God through the Catholic Church and its teachings, the Word, and Sacraments. --TT